League Two preview: Bradford ready to bounce back


Two weeks ago, we opposed Bradford for their
trip to Dagenham on the basis that emotions were running a little high and
composure might be compromised following a positive start that had kept them
alive in two cup competitions and propelled them into early League Two
promotion contention.

The Daggers obliged at odds of 19/10, although the Bantams didn't go down without a fight, coming back from three goals down to narrowly lose 4-3. Meanwhile, a 1-1 draw with York last weekend has now stretched the current winless sequence to four matches.

So October's been a frustrating month for Phil Parkinson's men, yet observers will tell you that little has changed in terms of performances. Bradford are still approaching games with the same high-intensity for large periods and creating chances by the bucketful.

Nonetheless, we believe a lesson may have been learned. After three seasons languishing in the lower reaches of the basement, it's understandable that everyone around Valley Parade is eager to acknowledge the progress that's been made and what it might amount to next May, but it doesn't pay to get ahead of yourself.

With that in mind, we fancy the wheel of inconsistency that masquerades as a formbook at this level to turn back in their favour against high-flying Cheltenham on Saturday. Take some of the 11/8 about the Yorkshire club putting down a marker and getting their promotion bid back on track.

The visitors moved into the automatic promotion places with victory over AFC Wimbledon last Saturday, although we're unsure how much weight should be attached to that result. The timing of the visit to Kingsmeadow wasn't ideal given that it was Neal Ardley's first game in charge but the Dons have, by and large, been a poor side for the past 12 months.

Nonetheless, it stretched the Robins' current unbeaten league sequence to six matches and they've tasted defeat only twice in their opening 12 matches, which is an admirable response to the heartbreak of losing last season's play-off final at Wembley.

However, by our reckoning, the trip to Valley Parade represents their toughest test so far and it doesn't help their cause that both teams have had a full seven days to recuperate because Bradford needed that break more than most and we presume a disciple of sport science like Parkinson will have used the time wisely.

If the Bantams come out fresh-legged and ready to play with their usual intensity, then Cheltenham's relatively smooth fixture list up to this point might not have prepared them adequately enough to withstand the onslaught.

Betting advice...

2pts Bradford to beat Cheltenham at 11/8 (Coral)
Bantams can get their promotion bid back on track after a full week to recuperate.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor